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Horsemanship: It Is a Journey, Not a Race
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Horsemanship: It Is a Journey, Not a Race

Recently, I heard a lecture about Millennials and the culture they grew up in. The lecturer mentioned that there were four key points which created the trend where the level of self-satisfaction and feelings or accomplishment were at an alarmingly low level. Part of the issue revolved around the skill known as patience. Much of what the lecturer said had a direct impact on the Art of Horsemanship and how we, as students of the horse, progress in it.

Patience is one of the key factors in the journey of horsemanship. It takes patience to build trust, establish communication, gain insights, take lessons, attend clinics, work with a variety of horses and of course practice…practice…practice.

A wonderful trainer and clinician named Susan Wirgler offered up a statement in one of her sessions that resonated deeply. She said, “Horses need C.P.R. C.P.R is Clarity, Patience, and Release.” See, there is that word again; patience.

We have to wait on the horse to find the right answer from the path we provide. We have to wait until the lesson sinks in before we move forward. We have to wait on ourselves to find that calm, quiet place within so we can “hear what the horse is saying” to us so we can be effective leaders. We have to be patient with ourselves as we develop skills, feel, timing and the language to relate to our horses. We have to be patient and allow ourselves and our horses to experience the journey towards the achievement of our goals. The journey is just that: a journey and not a race.

The hardest part about being a horseperson in the 21st century is the demands on our time. For most of us, there is school, work, home and social demands that limit the time we can spend with our horses. For the few equine professionals whose clients want miracles created in short order, there is the demand to get things done well and quickly, which is at odds with how the horse learns.

Everything is focused on “get it now” and instant gratification. Ever notice how when you are rushed to do something with your horse, the horse is on a totally different schedule? This illuminates the need for having patience in our lives and in our horsemanship.

When dealing with other living, breathing lifeforms we have to take our time and really develop those relationships with empathy, patience, and awareness of the other party’s needs. This makes the journey to goal achievement a bit slower to be sure, but the investment of patience allows for the enrichment of all involved, being you and your horse.

There is so much to learn! Learning and growth are journeys that we, as active equestrians, have to invest real time and effort in so that we may enjoy the benefits of our investment. Celebrate each “win” and take time to recognize the milestone. Your journey is your own. Allow the experiences to enrich and enhance your horsemanship and your life. Breathe in, breath out, and move forward.

Thanks for reading.

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